December 8th is a day that most Cardinals fans would like to just as soon go ahead and forget about. Albert Pujols, an iconic symbol to not only the team, but the city in general, stunned the baseball world and signed with the Los Angeles Angels.
The devastation was felt, but not shared by all. Those who did share, had strong opinions.
"It just breaks my heart," Ben Voss of St. Louis told STLtoday.com in an interview. "I got a nine-month-old, I got him a Pujols jersey already, and I gotta go home and burn it tonight unfortunately."
Fans' sentiments were shared by the Cardinals' front office.
"We are disappointed that we were unable to reach an agreement to keep Albert Pujols in St. Louis," Cardinals Chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a statement following the signing.
"Albert is a great champion and we will always be thankful for his many achievements in a Cardinals uniform, as well as his contributions to the St. Louis community. I have the highest regard for Albert both personally and professionally, and appreciate his direct involvement in this process. I would like our fans to know that we tried our best to make Albert a lifetime Cardinal but unfortunately we were unable to make it happen."
Recovery among Cardinal nation has been slow, and has gone through many phases. The latest being acceptance.
But as of now, how ready are the Cardinals for life after Albert? We examine eight different variables that will contribute to the 2012 season's success or failure.